“I heard a rumor earlier today. They say a woman and her husband were sleeping in the stable because the city is so crowed and there was no room in the Inn. Story has it she gave birth to a child there.”
As the tour guide directed his group through the City of Bethlehem, (after being accounted for and paying their taxes), this was the talk of the town. But no one really knew what had happened. Questions were asked at each merchant, but no one could give any more details. The Roman guards watched the tour groups closely, making sure they kept moving along. The groups visited each of the merchants and were amazed at the craftsmanship.
They viewed a Jewish family camping in a tent, talked with the woman at the well who knew all the ‘gossip’. Everyone had heard about the birth of the child, but did not know where He was. Ultimately, the groups were directed to the Shepherds who said “Yes, we have seen the child. An angel of the Lord came upon us and the glory of the Lord shone round about us, and we were very afraid . . . and the angel said ‘For unto you was born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’, then the angel directed us to Him. You will find him in the stable over that way.” The groups each would proceed to the stable where the Christmas Story was read while angels surrounded them.
Everyone who visited said it was a wonderful experience. Much to the surprise of the organizers and participants, a total of 748 people came to visit the “Come, Walk Thru Bethlehem” pageant in the 2-night production. While the visitors were waiting in the gym for their tour group to proceed, they were provided with music to fill the time. Amanda Chase played her saxophone, A church choral group sang, and there was group singing as well.
For several years, the Oglethorpe Church had produced a live nativity in the front yard of the church. A manger scene was set up, animals were brought in, and church members were the participants. The pastor read the “Christmas Story” from Luke, and additional members of the church would provide music when appropriate. A few came from the community to view this event that lasted approx. 30 minutes. As good as this was, some of the church members felt that they could do even more with cooperation from other churches.
One day a member of the community “got wind” of this desire of the Adventist Church to do a Christmas Pageant involving other churches. The seed was planted, and it grew and blossomed almost overnight. A date was set for a planning meeting. Thirty individuals representing nine churches attended that first meeting. Excitement grew, as plans were made. The City of Oglethorpe was approached with a request to use the City Park where a nice walking trail had been established, and permission was granted. Excitement continued to grow – assignments were given, costumes were made, and dates set. The churches involved include the Oglethorpe Seventh-day Adventist , First Salem Baptist, New Life Baptist , Oglethorpe Baptist, Montezuma First Baptist, Magnolia Baptist, Oglethorpe Methodist, Mount Zion St. Luke Lutheran, and Montezuma Methodist.
After a debriefing, plans are already being made for a bigger and better “Come, Walk Thru Bethlehem” pageant for December 11 and 12, 2014.
by Carolyn Lipscomb